Posts Tagged ‘ACLU’

The Writer’s Discipline in the Digital Wilderness

Sunday, August 4th, 2013

The wilderness of self-publishing is where my excuses went to die

Foret Allemagne by Michael LangeAll digital photography by Michael Lange

 

The digital revolution has forced traditional publishers to look a lot like Dick Cheney. It did the same thing to the music industry, too, before the record labels went out like the inflexible, teeth-gnashing dinosaurs they were. I do respect old-school publishing’s heritage of absolutism, but in the same way I’d defer to the Cigarette Smoking Man from “The X-Files” if he tapped me on the shoulder.

What I no longer fear is the stigma of bringing my book to market on my own. I’m way past the point of no return financially and self-assuredly. No, I had no idea how difficult this was going to be, nor did I know how to avoid making it harder. But then my starting point was, “Hi, I’m an ex-felon and here’s my 480-page manuscript about my prison sentence. Will you read a chapter and…”

Yeesh. I wouldn’t wish that opener on my worst enemy!

But seriously, if my journey could begin at a maximum security facility where I traded soap with murderers with open sores for pencils and paper, you, friends, have no excuse not to put your stories out there, satisfy your creative obsessions, and realize your dreams and goals. (more…)

Apocalypse Hoosegow 4: Of Heroin Burritos and “Dings” at L.A.’s Men’s Central Jail

Thursday, January 12th, 2012

I’ve seen the mentally ill scurry from beatings under bunks, behind trashcans, and between walls and toilets. I’ve also witnessed Sheriff’s Deputies chasing these “Dings” down to hogtie ‘em and leave ‘em that way until their wrists and feet turned so purple I wanted to scream in anger. It’s all coming back now – but this time, finally, it’s coming back publically.

First of all, “Ding” is a jail term for prisoners suffering from obvious mental health issues. Jabbering crazy dudes are everywhere in jail, and most of ‘em like to hide – in corridors, showers, laundry areas, etc. They also jump out at you, yell at you, grab your food while you’re eating, and keep you up at all hours. So naturally, Dings get the shit beaten out of ‘em night and friggen’ day. (more…)

From Beat-downs to Bear Hugs

Saturday, October 8th, 2011

My Journey from L.A. County Custody to Sheriff Lee Baca’s Wild World of Wheelin’ and Dealin’

'03 Gold Star AwardsIn 2003 I was hired to write a teleplay for the 2nd Annual California Gold Star Awards: Dedicated to Homeland Security – a Donald Sterling, black-tie, $25,000 per-table fundraiser for the Orange County Reserve Deputy Sheriff’s Association held at the Disneyland Hotel. L.A. County Sheriff Lee Baca was representing, and security for the luminary-laden event was, according to the official press release, listed as “war mode.”

Now for those of you somehow unfamiliar with the billionaire owner of the Los Angeles Clippers, the event’s principal underwriter, Donald Sterling, is one of Southern California’s largest real estate moguls. He’s also routinely accused of flagrant racism, not least of all by the U.S. Department of Justice for his attempts to exclude blacks, Latinos and prospective tenants with children from renting apartments in properties he owns. Even when it appears as though others are honoring him, words like “fake,” “ugly,” and “mirage” have been used to describe Sterling’s garish “philanthropy,” while he himself enjoys a widespread reputation for being miserly, sexist, and self-aggrandizing. (UPDATE: 8/6/14 Well, I guess there’s no question now what the world thinks of the man now, eh?)  (more…)